November 8, 2011
Youth convicted of certain sex offenses must now comply with registration and community notification laws that used to apply only to adults, due to new requirements laid out in the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, or "SORNA” (Title I of the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act).
One of the goals of SORNA is to standardize across states how individuals are classified and registered. How's that affecting youth? Negatively, according to Nicole Pittman and Quyen Nguyen of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, who have just released the first comprehensive snapshot of state laws requiring registration of youth convicted of sex offenses.
Pittman and Nguyen's survey, titled, "A Snapshot of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws: A Survey of the United States," found that:
- 35 states require youth to register or comply with community notification laws;
- in 16 of the 35 states, youth registration information is not publicly-accessible;
- in 17 of those 35 states, youth adjudicated as delinquent do not have to conform to requirements for registering adults; and
- seven of those states require youth to register for life.
The authors conclude that state registration requirements for youth vary widely, and the laws are often “interpreted inconsistently.”
The full report includes a wealth of resources, including:
- a brief summary of SORNA;
- common challenges to implementing it for youth;
- a chart highlighting, comparing, and contrasting the main provisions of registration and notification laws applied to children and adolescents adjudicated delinquent in the United States;
- separate fact sheets summarizing the laws applied to children in each of the 50 states, Guam, and the District of Columbia; and
- a directory of the state officials assigned by the U.S. Department of Justice to oversee the sex offender registration and notification systems in each jurisdiction.
(NOTE: Updated versions of these documents were uploaded on November 10, 2011.)
Related Resource from an NJJN member: "The Case for Modifying Juvenile Sex Offender Registry Requirements," Stand Up for What's Right and Just (SURJ), Delaware, 2011.